Newport earn ‘dream’ tie for Manchester United fan Graham Coughlan

Posted Wednesday, January 17, 2024 by PA

Newport earn ‘dream’ tie for Manchester United fan Graham Coughlan

Graham Coughlan was delighted after his Newport side secured a money-spinning FA Cup fourth-round tie with boyhood club Manchester United thanks to a 3-1 replay win at Eastleigh.

After drawing 1-1 at Rodney Parade last time around, both clubs knew the prize on offer at the Silverlake Stadium.

Top scorer Paul McCallum pulled the fifth-tier Spitfires level after Aaron Wildig’s early opener.

But James Clarke and Will Evans ended the hosts’ fairytale run as dreams of a fourth-round debut against Erik ten Hag’s Red Devils were crushed.

Coughlan’s side will earn £400,000 due to the tie being picked for television coverage.

And the Exiles manager said: “It’s a dream come true.

“Personally, for me and my family, it is a hell of an honour. We’re a big Man United family, we’ve followed them through thick and thin.

“We’ve been to FA Cup finals with them, but that’s a story for another day.

“It means a lot to the football club but it means a lot to this group of players. This group of players have absolutely run through brick walls and they’ve put their bodies on the line since they’ve come in. I’m really proud of them.

“Let’s take nothing away from Eastleigh. They have taken the scalp of a League One team here already in Reading. I’m pretty sure they would have fancied doing a League Two side tonight so fair play to them.

“I hope to see them push on from tonight and I hope that they can get into the play-offs.

“This is a really good club with some great people at it. I don’t want to be unfair to Eastleigh but I think there were a few more moments of quality from ourselves.”

After seeing his side’s fine run ended, Eastleigh boss Richard Hill labelled it a “punch in the face”.

He said: “This will be a memory which lives for a while.

“Over the time I’ve been at the club, the three stints, looking back I always said the one game I’d want back is the Grimsby game back and in time this will be a game I’d like back again.

“The cup run’s been great. It’s brought a lot of exposure to the football club, it’s brought the fans out. The fans were brilliant, they deserve a lot of credit because they stuck with us until the end.

“I know I divide opinion with a lot of them, but I’ve got to thank them. They were brilliant.

“To look back on the cup run, beating Reading was great. But the prize for this was massive and that’s what hurts the most; what the prize could have been. Not just for me, or the players, but for the media and being around those players who would have been coming here.

“It would have been a great occasion for everything around the football club.

“Newport were bright, sharper and a little bit more streetwise on the night. They deserved the victory, you’ve got to give credit to them.”


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